Tent Canopies
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While there may be others available, the most popular tent-style canopy is made by Kelty). They make two models, both using similar design and construction. They use a lightweight nylon fabric, and shock-corded fiberglass or aluminum rods for the structure, similar to a standard dome tent. The Sun Shelter is somewhat smaller than the smallest Sun Shade, but it has two sides built-in. LL Bean reportedly offers a similar line of products, but they aren't offered on-line - you'll need to get their Outdoors catalog for details.

Because of the tent-like design, the sides angle down quickly, resulting in less standing room than the pop-ups. On the plus side, they are very lightweight and compact. No accessories are available, so you'll have to use tarps or shade cloth to protect yourself on the sides. The Big Al Sunshade is a new model that appears much more stable than the original models - it has two points of contact in each corner instead of one. It is also considerably lighter because it uses aluminum poles.

  • Review:
    Pros: lightweight; low-profile; reportedly easy to set up, especially if you have experience with dome tents; easy to transport.
    Cons: limited standing room - the center is tall enough, but quickly falls off in 3 directions, making it difficult to get around and share with other competitors; not as well suited for clamping on sides to fill gaps when the sun gets low or the wind comes up; no accessories available (sides, screens, etc.)
    Feedback: a friend reported watching someone setting it up at Hayward in the wind and it wasn't as easy as it appears - having fought with various dome tents over the years, I know that they can be a challenge until you get the hang of it, especially if there's any wind.

  • Specifications:


Height Coverage


Sun Shade        
Medium  75"-90" 40-65 sq ft 10lb 4oz $150-$155
Large  90"-110" 50-75 sq ft 12lb 4oz $175-$190

  • Online Sources: Cabelas, REI

  • Store Sources (click to find a location near you): REI (Berkeley, Sacto)

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Last updated 11/07/2010

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